New York City has long been a hub of creative talent and technological innovation here in the States. Between the thousands of artists and bands, the amazing music venues, and headquarters of music industry brands, it only makes sense that organizers have chosen Manhattan and Brooklyn as the landscape for Mondo.NYC 2016!
Mondo.NYC is kicking off it’s inaugural business summit, festival and digital platform from September 14-18, 2016, and TuneCore is honored to be a part of the action as a sponsor and contributor. We’re of course honored that almost 50% of the artists scheduled to perform use or have used TuneCore as their digital distribution partner!
A multi-day event filled with panels, showcases and performances, Mondo.NYC is a celebration of music, technology and the entertainment industry among fans, artists, and tech/music professionals. If you haven’t grabbed a ticket, we worked with the staff at Mondo.NYC to make sure we could offer TuneCore Artists 20% off their purchases. All you’ll need to do is enter promo code TUNECORE2016 when you purchase online.
By day, New York University will serve as the setting for discussion, networking and education. By night, live music across Brooklyn and Manhattan hot spots will be raging.
Join us on Friday, September 16th from 10:00-10:50am in room 914 the Kimmel Center at NYU for “Under the Hood: Get Your Music Heard and Get Paid for Doing It” – a panel about distribution for independent artists.
In this featured panel discussion, Scott Ackerman, CEO of TuneCore, will discuss TuneCore’s digital distribution platform and how we help thousands of artists of every size and genre get their music heard around the world, get paid for doing so, and keep 100% of their rights and earnings. Scott will help artists better understand the process and value of independent distribution. In addition to his valuable insights, there will be a panel of successful TuneCore artists to give first hand accounts of how they have leveraged the digital distribution platform to enable and enhance their careers.
As psyched as we are to talk about the value of digital distribution, it’s not all about us! Panel discussions topics will range from the roles of music management and the use data to track/manage audiences, to synch licensing and public policy around music – and everything in between. Learn more about the extensive list of panels here.
If you’re an indie artist, a music entrepreneur or music fan looking to learn more about the industry, grab your tickets today – and don’t forget to nab that 20% discount code using promo code TUNECORE2016.
As with any event TuneCore’s staff is hanging at, we always encourage artists to come up and introduce themselves. You can find members of our team taking notes by day and rocking out at night – we hope to see you out in person!
[Editors Note: This is a guest blog post written by Don Bartlett, owner of No Door Agency, an Austin, TX-based boutique management and marketing agency. Don also hosts a monthly seminar titled “Facebook Marketing For Musicians“.]
Independent artists are constantly looking for ways to eke maximum value from very limited promotion budgets. As Facebook continues to solidify its position at the center of the social media ecosystem, many conversations revolve around taking advantage of their incredibly powerful advertising tools.
The primary hesitations about the platform tend to be some combination of “it’s too expensive” and “we don’t see results”, but by sticking to a few core targeting and budgeting strategies you can take advantage of Facebook’s promotional benefits without going broke in the process.
In our experience you don’t need to spend a lot of money on Facebook advertising to get concrete results. However, if you’re working with a modest budget, it’s even more critical to structure your campaigns in a way that delivers the most value.
To this end, start with a premise: The bulk of your “results” – ticket sales and album sales in most cases – are going to come from your existing fans. Using Facebook ads to increase this pool is a separate topic entirely, but once a show is on sale your focus should shift to those who have already identified themselves as fans.
The most effective way to spend money on Facebook by a wide mile is reaching this group of people. On the surface this seems like a very easy concept and in many ways it is. So why do so many bands have a tough time getting results from their campaigns? In many cases, they’re spending too much.
Let’s look at an example…let’s say a band has 500 Facebook fans in Chicago, and they have an upcoming Windy City show scheduled that they’d like to promote:
Assuming a typical ad cost of about $10 per 1,000 people reached, a budget of $10 will reach all of those fans, likely twice each.
Since these 500 people are our most-likely ticket buyers, we always suggest reaching them three different times leading up to a show. However, these three campaigns should to be separated from each other by some “dead air” time where people won’t be seeing your ad.
Think of it as a reminder. This is a group of people who already likes your band, so they don’t need to be persuaded – they just need to be reminded. And if you remind someone about something five times a day, they’ll be annoyed. If you remind them every week or two, they’ll appreciate it.
So ideally, the band creates three different campaigns budgeted at $10 each, for a total of $30. It’s important to note here that this is very different from a single campaign for $30.
With the 10/10/10 model, they’ve got 100% coverage of their fans a few different times, but not to the point where they’re being bombarded six times a day for a month.
So to reach the 500 fans in this example $30 is not only all you need to spend, it’s all you SHOULD spend. Unfortunately many bands think that by pushing the budget up to $100 is going to give an extra push to ticket sales, when the reality is that it won’t help – and often it hurts. When people see your ad too many times they often will block or hide the ad posts, which negatively affects your page’s organic reach down the line.
There are certainly ways to put an additional $70 to good use, but that isn’t one of them. And the bulk of actual ticket sales are always to your existing fans so spending the $30 is critical, but spending the additional $70, even when done correctly, is far, far less critical.
Which brings us to another critical component of campaign structure: Your ads to existing fans should always be separate from any other targets.
As your most-likely ticket buyers, you want to ensure 100% coverage of this target. With other targets, you’re just looking to reach as many people as possible within your budget. So instead of running one campaign to “fans of our band, fans of Band X and fans of Band Y”, you should run one campaign to “fans of our band”, budgeting to ensure full coverage, and then a separate one to “fans of Band X and Band Y”.
To be sure, there are plenty of other elements that go into successful Facebook Ad campaigns. But following these targeting and budgeting strategies will put any campaign in a much better position to maximize the value of limited budgets.
[Editors Note: This article was written by Rachel Bresnahan originally featured on the Sonicbids Blog.]
I speak for myself when I say this, but I’m sure plenty of other musicians think the same: we all want a consistent, full-time, make-a-living-off-of-music job. Whether that’s behind the scenes or center stage, being able to sustain a life off of our music would be fantastic.
But because we all need to have a place to live, buy groceries, and pay off student loans, we sometimes have no choice but to opt for a nine-to-five job. It may not be music related, but a day job can make life a little bit easier to handle. However, there are times when it may seem as if you’re focusing less and less on your music and losing touch with that part of your identity.
Even if you aren’t playing or booking gigs every day, that doesn’t mean you’re giving up your musicianship. There are ways to focus on your day job as well as your passion for making music.
1. Set music-related deadlines (and stick to them)
Making time after work to go to the gym, maintain relationships, eat right, and just plain relax requires plenty of effort all on their own. So at the end of the day, we don’t blame you for not wanting to sit down with a metronome or manuscript paper.
Maybe you’re too tired or feeling uninspired, but it’s so incredibly important to keep yourself emerged in a musical mindset with music activities. You don’t have to write a full-length, best-selling album in a night, but you do need to maintain some focus in music.
Try setting some personal or professional deadlines for writing music, practicing, self-marketing, or any other part of your musicianship. If you’re in the process of writing lyrics, plan to have a part of the song done by the end of the week or spend 20 minutes a day drafting emails to send to venues. Creating deadlines and goals, however big or small, will help you keep music in mind even if playing a gig or writing seem too far out of reach for a day’s work.
2. Plan some relaxation time that includes music
A passion for music is great in this way – you can continue to grow as a musician even if you’re not practicing for two hours every day.
Sit down with an album and make the time to actively listen to it – don’t make a snack or check your social media. Just sit. Listen. Think. Doing this will help you listen for elements that may inspire you further to create and add-on to your own music.
3. Ask yourself, “Is this a healthy break, or am I avoiding music?”
I can definitely “out” myself with this one. After taking some time away from music, there are moments when I avoid my craft all together. If you’re like me at all, it’s never a fun practice session when your hands are out of shape. The fumbling, the mistakes, and the frustration can be discouraging and it becomes a vicious cycle. I don’t want to practice because I’m self-conscious of the way I sound, but only practicing will help me get back in shape.
However, taking a well-needed break is also healthy. Hitting the restart button will not only clear your mind, but it will also hopefully make your heart miss making music. What’s the saying? “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” It’s totally okay to take a step back, but make sure you’re doing it with intent.
4. Surround yourself with musicians who inspire you
Spending time with like-minded friends is never a bad idea. Being able to talk to others about music is a wonderful way to keep your head in the game. Take a second to talk about, analyze, and explore music in an intellectual way. These conversations can help you think about music critically; you might even continue to learn new ideas and techniques from others. I find that the people that I surround myself with inspire me the most with my music and keep me constantly thinking of my presence in music.
It’s no easy task to balance a music career while maintaining a life outside of music. But you shouldn’t have to feel like you’re compromising your passion for a steady paycheck. Let us know in the comments below how you’ve managed being a full-time musician with a nine-to-five job.
[Editors Note:This blog was written by Paul Loeb and was originally featured on the Sonicbids Blog. Paul is a producer and founder/CEO of both DropTrack and No Ego Records.]
Now, more than ever, songwriters and producers hunger for visual-media placements as opportunities for sync licensing surge and traditional record sales from CDs and downloads sag. Busy music supervisors hold the keys to placements in ads, films, TV, and video games, but how do you find them and get your foot in the door?
Of course, once you’ve introduced yourself, you’ve got to create great songs tailored to individual projects with high production values. Hundreds of articles tell how to do that. But trying to sell your music cold without having met or corresponded with music supervisors is likely to fail. If you’re not affiliated with a song plugger, licensing firm, or music library – and don’t want to be – outreach to individual supervisors can work. Still, to even get a listen, you’ve got to meet as many music supervisors as possible and make first impressions count.
I’ve helped secure over 20 sync placements on MTV, Comedy Central, Bravo, Oxygen, E!, and elsewhere through my company, DropTrack. Our personalizable music marketing platform connects artists with music supervisors, label reps, DJs, and radio pros. To maximize placement opportunities, I advise musicians who use DropTrack – as well as those who don’t – to apply the following techniques.
1. Study up
Good old Google is a fine place to start researching music supervisors and choose your targets. SongwriterUniverse has an excellent directory of them, and Tunefind shows what music many are interested in. The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) is a great tool for identifying who works on TV series and films. You can even get a free 30-day trial of IMDB Pro, where you can find contact information. The National Association of Record Industry Professionals is another resource. Go to NARIP.com, search with keywords “music supervisors,” and read articles telling who they are and how best to approach them.
Also, search phrases like “music supervisors looking for music.” Once you know names, Google them for more information. Watch their ads, shows, and films. Get familiar with them. Be fluent in how music is being used, know the common practices in the field, and embed this knowledge into all the strategies discussed below.
Avoid this rookie blunder: Don’t submit songs to music supervisors who’ve never worked in your genre. Personalization leads to monetization.
2. Get on LinkedIn
Everyone on LinkedIn is looking for the same thing: professional advancement. Pitching music through Twitter and Facebook is done to death. Music supervisors don’t have time for the former and use the latter for friends, family, and fun – that’s not where they’re looking for the perfect hook for their ad. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is ideal for forming business relationships. It’s expected to request connections with people you don’t know.
But do it right. Make sure your profile is up to date and describes your skills and experience. When you invite someone to connect, delete the standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network” message, and instead enter a personal note like, “Hi Scott, I’m a big fan of your work on Entourage. I’d like to see if you’re looking for music for upcoming projects. I run an independent record label focusing on dance/electronic music, and I’d love to send you some tunes.”
Avoid this rookie blunder: Don’t connect until you’ve completed your profile with a good photo and a clear description of what you do. Crush the first impression.
3. Attend trade shows and conferences
Passes can be pricey, but conferences are worth it if you stay in the target market for your genre. Ones worth attending include (but aren’t limited to):
SF Music Tech Summit (San Francisco)
Billboard/THR Film and TV Music Conference (Los Angeles)
Sync Summit (Los Angeles, New York, London)
ASCAP EXPO (Los Angeles)
MUSEXPO (Los Angeles)
Winter Music Conference (Miami Beach)
EDMBiz Conference and Expo (Las Vegas)
Amsterdam Dance Event (Amsterdam)
With meetups, mixers, and message boards, contact opportunities are endless.
Prepare by finding out who’s going and research them online. Make a list of your marks. Email them in advance and ask for an appointment to meet during the show. Alternatively, tweet them during the conference to see where they are and if you can come to them.
Attend the biggest panel discussions, sit in the front row, and be the first to ask a question. Stand up, introduce yourself loudly, and make it a good one. Many conferences have panels featuring sync reps and supervisors, though some cost extra. When you’re first building relationships, the added fee is worth being part of an elite group of attendees.
The best networking happens in the hallways, the bars, and the line for coffee. Ask lots of questions about what kinds of music they need, and ask even deeper follow-up questions that show you’re genuinely interested and you’ve done your homework about their business. Make yourself relevant. And don’t forget to exchange business cards.
No more than a week after the conference, email each contact to follow up and allude back to your conversation. Say, “John, it was nice to meet you and talk about your work at Disney. You mentioned needing dubstep tracks for an upcoming project. Would it be okay for me to send you a few songs?”
Avoid this rookie blunder: Don’t just sit and listen. If you leave with no business cards, you’re doing it wrong. Also, don’t hand out flash drives or CDs at conferences. Now’s the time to form one-on-one bonds, not pitch your music.
4. Seal the deal
Ask your new acquaintances to add you to their email lists and let you know when they have specific needs for songs. Offer to tap them into your network of other industry pros to fulfill those requests as well. Mention that you understand they would only consider music that’s easy to clear for both master and publishing copyrights. If applicable, mention that you have instrumental versions and vocal splits available of all tracks.
Avoid this rookie blunder: Don’t send MP3s as email attachments. Send links to your website or DropTrack playlist promoting no more than three tracks for a specific project.
Following these recommendations will boost the likelihood that music supervisors will at least listen when you submit your music. Laying the groundwork makes all the difference to meeting and dazzling the right people and getting decent shots at the deals you want.
If you’ve been a reader of this blog (or a TuneCore Artist) for a little while, you may be familiar with singer/songwriter Ron Pope’s impressive independent music career. To catch you up, Ron went from performing his songs as a busker in New York City subways to touring the world over several years without the help of a label. He’s been a champion of adapting to the trend of streaming music and implementing the tools available to him to garner a fan base that spans continents.
Well, it would appear that he has no plans to slow down! Earlier this year, Pope released his latest full length album with a new artist collective backing him up, and took them all back on the road with him. From the time they began recording through their tour, the filming of the upcoming documentary One Way Ticketwas underway. The film captures Pope’s goal of becoming a household name while remaining a completely independent artist.
More than just a tour documentary, One Way Ticket aims to present an artist who is control of every facet of his career, and the hurdles in place for music creators when it comes to truly ‘breaking’ in the age of the Internet.
One Way Ticket premiers June 29th in Brooklyn at the Nitehawk Theater, and if you’re in the area you can grab tickets to it here. TuneCore is proud to have been a part of Ron’s exciting career for almost a decade, and we caught up with him to discuss the documentary, his new album, and of course, the digital music landscape:
Begin by telling us a bit about the formation of your new band.
Ron Pope: The band came together very organically. All the guys I’m working with on this project are very busy New York session players; they’re my first-call guys and have been for years, but they’re always busy. It was a miracle to get them all together for a tour. Originally, our plan was for them to play as my backing band and then to go back to life as usual. No one even considered “starting a band” at first; we were just doing a tour with them as my backing band.
We went to Georgia and moved into a lake house for a few weeks to begin rehearsing and recording; while we were there, it just started becoming apparent that we were becoming a band in the most basic sense of the word. Everyone was sharing input and helping to shape the music and getting along insanely well. It was all a happy accident!
In what ways does the music you’re creating with the new band differ most from your previous solo stuff?
At the end of the day, all of my records have been made up of songs I’ve written by myself, (or with friends), and then produced on my own, (or with friends), utilizing various musicians to back me up. In that way, whatever the album cover says is fairly inconsequential; my first album, when I was “in a band”, (Ron Pope & The District), is no different than Daylight or the newest album. They’re chapters in the same book.
What kind of reaction did you get from longstanding fans?
I’ve been blessed with fans who are willing to follow me as I shift gears from one sonic world to the next. When I released Calling Off The Dogs in 2014, with all its crazy orchestrations and wild compositions, they were just as receptive as they were to Atlanta or Ron Pope & The Nighthawks, (which are much more organic sounding recordings).
At the end of the day, the production and all the arrangement stuff is just window dressing; the songs create the context, and my fans seem to realize that better than most.
After plenty of recording and touring as a solo artist, what inspired you to reach out to Kelly Teacher about filming your ventures surrounding the creation of this album and the tour?
Although my name has always been on the marquee, calling me a “solo artist” at any point is something of a misnomer. I have always recorded albums that feature full bands and have also always toured fronting an ensemble.
I knew that this tour was going to be special and when Ted Young, (who worked on this project with me), suggested that we have someone document it, I thought it might be an adventure. In the beginning, neither Kelly nor any of us knew exactly what the movie would be about; the point of our story came into focus as we moved forward together. I hate to keep using this term, but it was very organic.
At what point did this film shift from being a story about an artist and his band to a commentary on the state of the music industry?
All of that happened naturally. We went into this journey hoping to capture our travels and the making of this record; we ended up telling a much more complex story. That started with talks around the breakfast table and conversations over smores at the lake house.
Kelly just kept capturing things that seemed to point towards something more significant than just a concert film or a “band makes a record and goes on tour” movie.
Do you feel you’ve gained new insight on ‘making it’ as an indie artist when reflecting on your recording/touring with the band vs. your previous experiences?
Every day, I find myself learning more and more about how to keep progressing as an artist and a businessperson. Living at the intersection of art and commerce can be a daunting experience, but the deeper you dive into the process, the more adept you becoming at navigating it all.
Are there any particular obstacles that you feel have gone from ‘terrifying’ to ‘doable’ for indie artists over the past few years?
I have always been of the mindset that anything is possible if you’re hard working and creative enough. As Kanye said, “Never gave in, never gave up, I’m the only thing I’m afraid of.”
It’s on YOU to get yourself where you want to go. There is very little about this business I’ve ever found “terrifying.” We’re not in a race against the clock to try to cure a terminal disease; we’re adults who get to make up stories, stay up late, and make noise.
I think it is important to maintain perspective; even when music isn’t your job, if you want it to be, you have to treat it like it is and do hard, focused work; but beyond that, you can’t let it drive you crazy. The business is complex and multifaceted; control what you can control and don’t sweat the bullshit, (because God knows you’ll have to wade through mountains of that to get where you’re going in this game).
What do you feel indie artists who watch One-Way Ticket will be able to take away from the film?
I think the movie really gives people a sense of how hard we work every day. My career didn’t come out of nowhere; we spent a long time working very hard to get to this point and continue with that work each and every day.
That is probably the most important lesson a young artist can take from the movie; if you want it, outwork your peers and go get it.
It’s been awhile since we’ve talked to you about streaming – which has been a big part of your career. Any thoughts on the progress that’s been made in the past two years?
The emotional tone within the industry in regard to streaming has shifted significantly in the last couple of years, obviously. In 2014, I felt like I was part of a very small minority of artists who were excited about the possibilities that streaming offered. In that era, we saw marquee artists like Taylor Swift taking their music off of Spotify in protest.
Now, we see Ms. Swift starring in advertisements for Apple Music; clearly, the prevailing winds have shifted. I think that the conventional music business has finally come around to the idea that steaming affords them real value.
That’s been the biggest shift in my mind; less people are crying that streaming is causing the sky to fall and instead, those people are trying to find ways to generate revenue via these platforms that aren’t going to disappear any time soon.
[Editors Note:This is a guest blog written by Justin M. Jacobson, Esq. and was originally featured on Hypebot. Justin is an entertainment and media attorney in New York City. He also runs Label 55 and teaches music business at the Institute of Audio Research. We’re excited to have Justin weigh in for the benefit of independent artists in the future!]
For some unexplained reason, frequently when artists go into the recording studio to work on a track together, they typically sign a “split sheet” and think it suffices. In reality, the traditional songwriter “split sheet” could merely be used as a stop-gap measure that is meant to ensure all parties are on the same page and understand what was contributed to the song by each party. Ultimately, songwriters should enter into a more elaborate and complete agreement to ensure the song can be properly used.
A “songwriter split sheet,” or “split sheet” for short, is a form that is signed by all the parties involved and lists each producer and songwriter. Each party’s contributions and ownership percentage of a particular musical composition are detailed. A typical “split sheet” should also include additional information about the parties, including each person’s physical mailing address, performance rights organization information (in the U.S., ASCAP, BMI, SESAC), publishing company information (if there is one), birthdate and Social Security and EIN number.
This document may seem to be comprehensive enough to cover the parties involved as it lists each party’s specific contribution (i.e. lyrics, beats, melody, etc.) and the corresponding percentage that each party owns of the final piece; however, it does not specifically address numerous important issues that could make or break a tune and severely inhibit its commercial value.
Generally under U.S. Copyright Law, if no agreement exists between the contributors to a particular copyrighted work, the assumption is that all of the contributors are considered joint-authors and own an undivided equal share of the song. This permits each owner to issue third-party licenses without the approval or consulting of any other owner as long as they account for any profits they made to the remaining owners. While this may be acceptable in situations where the actual work was equal among the contributors; it is not always the case, and could cause some serious issues if the composers do not understand this point. For example, if members of a band create compositions, sign a split sheet and then break up; each individual from the group can record and release the same material, merely subject to an accounting and payment. This is frequently thought of as a nightmare situation. Therefore, the right to issue or enter into third-party licenses for the finished material should be agreed upon in a more formal contract. This is an important point that a typical “split sheet” does not address at all.
Additionally, a standard “split sheet” does not speak about many ancillary and important elements to a song’s commercial value. This includes any right of publicity matters, such as utilizing a particular producer, artist or songwriters’ name in connection with the publicity and marketing of a finished work. Other important matters to address include the right to request a proper accounting from the other parties, the right to audit and inspect a particular co-owner’s business records and the right to recover (i.e., recoup) certain documented expenses (i.e. recording, engineering, mixing, mastering costs, etc.). The agreement should also address the right to proper attribution or credit on the finished work.
Furthermore, the traditional “split sheet” does not mention any warranties or indemnifications by any of the parties to each other. Without these warranties, each party could be liable for any potential unauthorized sampling, lack of appropriate rights clearance or any other unauthorized or infringing uses in the finished work by each party. A “split sheet” also does not discuss the party’s right to approve any finished work or the right to approve any marketing or promotional campaigns and budgets for the track. Finally, it does not address which state law to apply to a particular situation and does not specify where any disputes or claims would be adjudicated.
Clearly, the traditional sentiment and reliance on the outdated and minimal “split sheet” should be disregarded and all the contributors should enter into more formal and elaborate agreements. This is necessary to ensure all the important issues are addressed and that each party is properly protected and aware of their rights and interest in the finished work.
This article is not intended as legal advice, as an attorney specializing in the field should be consulted when drafting any formal agreement.